Sunday, 30 November 2008

Geography really is everywhere...

How well do you know your world?

The Guardian recently reported the results of [another!] survey about how little we know about the world... Read the article here and then have a go at this quiz... How much do you know? (And how useful is the quiz as a measure of how good a geographer you are?!)

Thanks to Tony Cassidy.

Santa Tracking...

Many of you will have seen the Norad Santa Tracking site in previous years... The site is back up and running from tomorrow, with new games and activities every day, building up to Christmas Eve when you can follow Santa's progress via Google Maps, Google Earth and Live Santa Cams!

Happy St Andrew's Day!

Image - Flickr user Grant MacDonald (Creative Commons)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Vendee Globe Update

Conditions not sounding too pleasant for the Vendee Globe competitors at the moment:

Find out more here.

Or have a go yourself in the Virtual Regatta! I've not quite got my head round it yet, but could be interesting... Click on the picture to link to the site:

A year without money??

Could you survive for a year without spending any money at all? That is what Mark Boyle is planning to do. Starting today (which is Buy Nothing Day) Mark will be living in this caravan... And will be "living off that land and the waste products of society".

Find out more here.

If everyone cared...

Thought-provoking assemblies this week from the 6th Form Amnesty International Group. Here's the video they showed:

Click on the logo below to link to the Amnesty International website and find out more about what you can do...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sailing Update...

Vendee Globe

Almost 14 days into the race, more than half of the Vendee Globe boats have crossed the Equator...

It's not all been plain sailing though... A great description from Steve White about his time in the Doldrums:

"I have been released from the Doldrums. I thought initially that perhaps I'd escaped punishment, but it was not so. At one point I was trapped under a cloud that filled a 24 mile range radar screen - and boy, did it rain! It was almost Biblical! We just sat in the midst of it with the sails banging and slatting back and forth, which is a sailor's Chinese water torture, with the rain bucketing down. That was the largest of many clouds, but there were very many equally frustrating ones, sometimes with wind in them, and sometimes only with wind at the edges, and nothing but torrential rain and no wind at all in the centre. There were gusts, but never that big, up to about 20 knots usually, but that's enough when you normally have a couple of reefs in and full ballast tanks by that point, and, you've guessed it, it can blow from any direction. It changes direction so frequently that I often had to look at the wind direction from the instruments and make funny angles with my hands to work out which tack I should be on to get me best to where I wanted to go! At some points I was going backwards faster than I'd been going forwards for the preceding few hours! It changed so often it can get confusing if you're tired. It has been really frustrating, and I am not keen to come back, but it is another experience to add to the list. I often imagined what it would be like to come through here in a square rigger. You can see how they got stuck here for weeks, sooner them than me....... When it rained for the first time,which was both a blessed relief from the heat and the chance for a shower for me..."

Rich Wilson, the only American in the race, has a very good website - check out the Saturday Updates Q&A section, and his description here of the traditions of crossing the Equator.

Mike Perham

The other sailing story at the moment is that of Mike Perham, who set off last Sunday in an attempt to be the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed. He has stopped briefly in Portugal for some repairs to his boat, but is hoping to be off again soon. Follow his progress on his website here.

South Polar Gazette

Want to know what's going on in the Antarctic? Then check out the South Pole Gazette...

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Upside down!


¡¡noʎ ɟo ǝɯos uıɐʇɹǝʇuǝ llıʍ ʇı ʇqnop ou ʇnq - ʇɐɥʇ oʇ ǝɯoɔ 'llɐ ʇɐ ǝsodɹnd lnɟǝsn ʎuɐ ɹo ˙˙˙ǝsodɹnd lɐɔıɥdɐɹƃoǝƃ lnɟǝsn ʎuɐ sɐɥ sıɥʇ ʇɐɥʇ ǝɹns ʇou ɯɐ ı


And there I was thinking it was just you lot!

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography fieldtrip)

Fab work from Geography teacher and poet Mark Cowan!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Svalbard and Flickr, especially for 8JHr

Good evening 8JHr! First of all, you can find Laurel McFadden's blog about her adventures in Svalbard by clicking on the picture below:

The Svalbard photos that were up at the start of the lesson were from the fantastic Flickr... (All I did was to type "svalbard" into the search and click Slideshow.)

Have fun!!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

California Wildfires...

One of a series of images from the BBC of the California wildfires that have resulted in a state of emergency being declared in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Various related stories, links, video clips and images here.

Saturday, 15 November 2008


On Thursday, more than 5 million people across Southern California took part in a huge earthquake drill...

Find out more about ShakeOut here.


Last week I posted about the start of the Vendee Globe - 5 days into the race, the boats are passing the Canaries and heading for the Cape Verde Islands... It's not good news for everyone - some of the competitors, including Brit Alex Thomson, have had to retire from the race.

All the latest Vendee Globe news is on the official website and you can track the progress of the race here.

Also taking to the water today will be Mike Perham. Mike is 16 years old, and at 11am today, he will set sail from Portsmouth in "an historic bid to become the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed..." Click on the picture below to link to Mike's website where you can look at photos, video diaries, and track his progress...

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Around the world in three months.... yourself... in one of these?

(Image: Aviva Ocean Racing)

That's exactly what the 30 sailors who've just left Les Sables d'Olonne in France are planning to do. They are taking part in the Vendee Globe, which runs every four years, and is described as "one of the most challenging tests of endurance there is".

You can find out more about the race here, where there are maps of the route, photos, video clips and weather reports, and information about the competitors, seven of whom are British. Find out more about them, their boats and their progress in the race on their websites: Mike Golding; Samantha Davies; Alex Thomson; Steve White; Jonny Malbon; Brian Thompson and Dee Caffari.

Rather them than me, I think!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Geo Challenge!

The Facebookers amongst you might like to have a go at Geo Challenge...

Be warned though... It is very addictive!


How would you cope if a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck? Very unlikely in Swanwick, but a real possibility for people living near the San Andreas Fault... which is why, on 13th November, more than 5 million people in Southern California will be taking part in The Great Southern Californian Shakeout - "the largest earthquake preparedness activity in US history".

Have a look at this video which shows what could happen when "the big one" strikes, and check out the ShakeOut website where there is lots more information, more video clips, and you can test your earthquake preparedness by playing Beat the Quake.

Thanks to Bob and Alan...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Carsington Wind Farm to go ahead...

Back in June, I posted about the decision by Derbyshire Dales District Council not to allow West Coast Energy to build four wind turbines at Carsington Pasture - overlooking Carsington Water, and not far from the villages of Hopton and Carsington.

Below is an artist's impression of what the turbines will look like from Carsington Water...

The council's decision has been overturned, however, by a government planning inspector who decided that the turbines would not have an "unacceptable" impact on the environment.

BBC News clip about the latest decision here...

Should the turbines go ahead? Will they be a terrible blot on the landscape? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Where's Wally?

If you're a "Where's Wally?" fan or a Google Earth fan (or both!) then today might be your lucky day!! Borders Books and the Daily Telegraph are running a competition (with holidays up for grabs as prizes) - and all you have to do is to find Wally in Google Earth!

Click on the picture below to find out more... And then get searching!!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Mt Chaiten

This was the view of Mt Chaiten in Chile in May this year...

Photo: Flickr user CaromicForever (CC)

Residents are on the alert again now as Mt Chaiten is showing further signs of activity.